When the Federal Reserve meets on August 8, it will decide to either raise or hold the line on interest rates. Here's some of the data from last week they'll consider:
The unemployment rate hit a five-month high in July as employers added just 113,000 new jobs for the month, far fewer than the 145,000 that economists had predicted. The unemployment rate jumped from 4.6% in June to 4.8% in July, the Labor Department reported August 4.
Rising gasoline prices helped slow consumer spending increases from 0.6% in May to 0.4% in June, the Commerce Department said August 1. Commerce officials also reported that core inflation, which excludes volatile energy and food costs, rose 2.4% in the past 12 months, the fastest gain since April 1995.
New orders at U.S. factories rose a smaller-than-expected 1.2% in June. Wall Street analysts anticipated a 1.8% rise. After stripping out transportation-related orders, which rose 7.4%, factory orders gained a scant 0.1%.
Mortgage application volume fell to its lowest level since May 2002, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported August 2. The MBA's market composite index, a gauge of mortgage loan application volume, fell to 527.6, down 1.2% from the previous week's reading of 533.8.
Yet, construction spending rose a stronger-than-expected 0.3% to a record seasonally adjusted $1.217 trillion annual rate in June, up from May's $1.214 trillion. While there were gains in nonresidential and public building, private residential construction fell for the third consecutive month.
This week look for an update on worker productivity on August 8, as well as a report from the much-anticipated Fed meeting.
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